Every staff member at Ranch Ehrlo strives to connect and build relationships with our youth, but no relationship is quite as unique as that with the house parent.

Our house parents are often the first adult that youth see upon waking up in the morning, greeted with a smile and breakfast to start their day off right. In the afternoon, returning from school, the house parent is there to inquire about how their day went, snack in hand. And on days off from school, the kitchen – where the house parent can often be found – is a frequent haven for our youth, to talk, or just sit in companionable silence.

Sometimes, though, house parents go above and beyond the call of duty to be there for a youth in crisis.

One young man was having issues with school – he was experiencing some bullying, and a lot of anxiety around attending his classes as a result.

“He made an agreement with our housemother that, if she were to attend school with him, that he would go and write his finals” said unit manager Kelly Cook.

A deal is a deal, so every morning the housemom headed into high school with the youth. With her calming presence, support, and encouragement, he was able to reduce his anxiety and successfully complete – and pass – his final exams.

“This particular youth does really well in school, but without writing his finals, he wouldn’t have gotten credit for the entire year. We really didn’t want to see that,” Kelly continued.

“This is a great example of the success we see when we integrate CARE principles into our work with youth.”

CARE, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, is a multi-level program model developed by Cornell University that Ranch Ehrlo uses to improve services for children in out-of-home care through six practice principles. In this case the use of their strong relationship helped the youth work through his issue.

Through CARE principles, children, youth, adults, families, and employees work together to achieve their full potential.